Monday, July 13, 2020

Bahrain’s Visionary Implementation of Robots to Combat COVID-19

As a visionary step, Bahrain has introduced robots for the assistance of COVID-19 patients. H.E Fatima A.Wahid Al Ahmed Assistant Undersecretary for Resources and Services, Ministry of Health detailed revolutionary use of medical robots in the Kingdom’s fight against coronavirus pandemic.

Ministry of health and authorities need to deploy key medical devices for COVID-19 isolation or treatment centers. As an experiment, the Ministry of Health introduced their robots at the Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Community Medical Center isolation facility. The introduction of robots will mark a qualitative shift in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The three robots introduced are the robot assisting nurses and physicians, a robot that does disinfect, and robots for transporting. COVID-19 has been a challenging pandemic that causes a crisis worldwide. The Bahrain Government is one of the countries that do efficient controlling of the disease under the leadership of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Deputy King, Crown Prince of Bahrain. The MOH is analyzing studying to the best medical evidence and technologies to combat the pandemic.

The introduction of robots in the healthcare sector for the first time in the history of Bahrain is a huge achievement. The healthcare sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain is witnessing a new boom with the use of medical robots in isolation and treatment sites. This will bring about a major shift or fundamental change in the methods, techniques, diagnosis, and treatments in the kingdom.

The introduction of robots hasn’t reduced the medical force yet. This is a preliminary experiment to evaluate the performance and report the healthcare settings specifically in facing COVID-19. The purpose of moving this model technology and artificial intelligence is actually to promote a safe working environment for healthcare providers and reduce their risk of infection transmission. Also, it will save time and reduce the workload of medical staff as the robot will do an examination of larger groups of patients in a shorter time.

MOH has done many studies and examined the experiences of other countries who had used robots with COVID patients before introducing them in Bahrain. The positive outcome that has been reported in many countries about using robots and providing safe environment care has encouraged MOH to adopt this approach.

The partner in this project is a French company that has an office in Bahrain and provided many countries with robots with their long experience in this field.

The nurse robot provides medication for COVID-19. It will do face detection, and link face scanning to a patient ID number. Electronically the patients will provide vital signs to the nursing monitor.

They can also translate between the patient and the physician. They can speak up to 18 languages. The patient can communicate through the robots with the physician and the nurses. Also the robot can trace the patient’s hospital stay throughout their disease period.

The disinfectant robot can speak to the patient, arrange for a disinfection of patients, home, corridor units and hospitals independently.

The transporter robot carry the exchange from the nursing station to
the patient.

These three robots are being controlled and assessed currently by a control room that observes the robot throughout the day, 24/7.

There is a plan to expand the robots in the future. Each of the robots can expand to provide more services like doing ECG, collecting blood samples, having microscopes, and programmed into the way the physician, nurses, and patients recommend.

Currently, the initial stage is very promising and we see that maybe in the future, we will see more robots in Bahrain.

Patients are very excited and happy to see the robots and willing to participate in accepting the robots in helping the nurses provide patient care.

The health practitioners are enthusiastic about the robots and they are happy to explore this experience.

Together we will fight COVID-19 and soon we will be out of it. We will celebrate our victory in winning this war with the pandemic.

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